When developing your digital services – web, intranet, extranet, e-commerce, web applications – we are your independent adviser. Our job is to envision the big picture, to design the service concept, to find suitable technologies and to guide your project from ideas to implementation.
Prestudy, concept design and architecture
Designing a digital service starts with an analysis of the objectives. This builds a basis for the concept idea, which is elaborated and tested. We identify the needs for functionalities, and then select the most suitable technology options for them. Costs for the prestudy project are 25 000 – 60 000 €.
”Why is this service built?” is a more complicated question than it looks at first glance. Target groups and the ways they benefit from the digital service are the essential questions here. By articulating the answers, we can clarify the objectives for the digital service. And the objectives need to be prioritized.
In a prestudy project, North Patrol focuses on the needs of key-personnel, top-management, service owners, maintenance personnel, and stakeholders. We can collect ideas and goals from people representing different viewpoints with interviews on the phone or face to face. Development targets can be brainstormed and shaped with group interviews or workshops.
All the ideas that are found are analyzed, evaluated and prioritized: by doing this we can form a vision of the digital service.
The service concept makes the basic meaning of the digital service concrete: ways of use, benefits and users, objectives, functionalities, contents and the story line of the structure. Also, the concept defines the role of the service in relation to other digital communication or business channels.
The experts of North Patrol help to design service concepts wich will truly benefit business and organizational objectives.
The key points of the concept idea are demonstrated with wireframes which can be either PowerPoint slides of clickable prototype. By doing this, the vision of the digital service will become more concrete and it is easy to introduce the idea futher.
When recommending the technology options, alongside feasibility, we have to also think of compatibility, cost efficiency, scalability, and ability to further develop the system during its life cycle.
We at North Patrol know the platforms for digital services, content management systems, e-commerce systems, portal platforms and other similar products, as well as their suitability to different uses. Sometimes it is justified to implement tailor made web or mobile applications that are detached from the system products. Large overall systems are often combinations of many different solutions, which emphasizes the meaning of the overall architecture.
We plan the overall architecture of the digital service using the most suitable technologies: We recognize the essential criteria and help to select the suitable system solutions. The overall picture of the target architecture is drawn depending on the need using the right accuracy level. Its solutions are based on the feasibility, desired customer experience, and cost efficiency.
Structuring the implementation into different phases is analyzed when planning the overall architecture: Procurement of different technology areas and a sensible phasing of implementation are scheduled on a roadmap.
For building the digital serivce, the sub projects, phasing, responsible persons, required recourses, scheduling and budged are scetched on the roadmap.
Experts at North Patrol have gained practical knowledge about what is a realistic schedule for different phases of a digital service project, what is the approximate budget and what kind of project organization, resources and RACI-matrix are required from the customer organization.
Different digitalization solutions have different prices, which depending on the case may be a sensible investment or a waste of resources. We can forecast the pricetag for the wishes and can estimate if it is beneficial to pay.
A concrete roadmap is a practical tool in project planning: It is helpful when representing, reasoning and selling the idea for top-management. Starting the implementation project is a clear task when it is based on the roadmap.
Specifications and bidding
As the objectives and needs for a new digital service have been identified, we help to ensure that it will be bought from right partners with a reasonable price. With support from North Patrol, the bidding will be easy and fair – also within the public sector that needs to follow the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts. We dare to promise that the money spend for consult work of North Patrol will be returned many times over by saving life cycle costs and saving your nerves. The project cost for specification and bidding project is typically 15 000 – 35 000 €.
In specifying the requirements, the objectives and target groups are worked through and the concept idea of the service is described. Service design, requirements and technical conditions are defined in co-operation with our customers in workshops.
The specification document includes the concept idea, content types, user experience description, functionalities, and technical boundaries for the new digital service. If needed, the requirements specification can be demonstrated by creating prototypes of key concept areas.
The core scope of the requirements specification is the minimum viable product (MVP). A high-quality requirements specification defines the first published version unambiguously and demonstrating the key features. It also describes the most important contents, features and dependencies of the next releases.
The requirements specification documentation provided by North Patrol is a high-quality description of the essential solutions: it helps you get high-quality offers for implementation project, and it is a solid base for proceeding with designs for contents, content structures and functionalities.
The procurement of a digital service includes various things: Among the ”system working on the Internet” you buy the system products, system implementation project, system design work, technical expert services, a partner for the upcoming years and probably also cloud or server services.
A good RFP represents the right kind of wishes and requirements of all these procurement project parts. What is the most important is that a good RFP requires to answer so that the relevant differencies between different vendors can easily be recognized.
With long experience North Patrol creates an RFP package including the system description, required provider tasks, proposal format requirements, and the answer forms for the providers, to get easy to compare and easy to understand proposals from suitable partner candidates.
The RFPs we write results with untangled bidding process which brings the best candidates in front.
A mutual superiority is found for providers in a systematic and fair proposal evaluation by North patrol: The proposals are weighted by the applied criteria and methodologically scored.
The impartiality of the comparison is ensured by having several experts doing the same comparison independently.
Our recommendations for the best provider are based on a concrete methodological comparison. When doing different technology solution evaluations, we are supported by history knowledge from hundreds of previously read proposals and tens of similar biddings.
With our recommencation we use reasoning, which is immune to critical view: the impartial comparison about the relevancy of offered technical solutions, quality factors, and the TCO are based on reality – not imagination. Our vendor recommendation reasoning is documented so unambiguosly that it is easy for the top-management to make decisions and there is no fear of ending up to the Market Court.
We help our customers also during the contract negotiations and with auditing and commenting on the contract papers.
Also, we make sure that the terms and working forms match with the best practices of the industry and are good and sensible from the customer perspective.
Support for implementation phase
A digital service will not get ready by itself. The daily team efforts require goal-orientation and sturdy leadership. You can hire our consultants with resource based contracts (usually 1 to 2 days per week) to support the implementation phase. Price for a man-day is based on the scope of the assignment.
When starting the implementation phase of your digital service, it is important to make sure that your implementation partner and your project team members have understood the objectives correctly. With a kick-off workshop we can make sure that everybody has a mutually shared vision of the key solutions.
A kick-off workshop facilitated by North Patrol enables interpreting the ideas, specifications and designs the right way: key points of the service concept, priorities of the implementation and most important objectives are walked through in a language that everybody in the project team understands.
The kick-off event also clarifies the working methods, project phases, practices and tools used in the project. Expectations and responsibilities for both parties will be explained.
After an informative kick-off meeting, the quality goals and principles of the digital service can be embodied in the work of service designers, architects, project managers, programmers and content providers.
In the implementation phase, project manager has challenging tasks from co-ordination and surveillance to supporting and instructing the work both internally and with the implementation partner. A consultant with technological expertise from North Patrol can help the project manager.
North Patrol consultant can assist the project manager as a technical product owner, who takes responsibility of keeping the implementation inline with the defined requirements and objectives.
In agile implementation projects, the technical product owner can be assigned with tasks like these:
- Elaborating the specifications
- Modelling and creating prototypes
- Managing project backlog, participating in sprint planning
- Participating in dailies and weeklies, sprint reviews, retros etc.
- Identifying and documenting further development ideas
The strengths of North Patrol’s specialists lie in diverse technical skills and internalised vision of the concept idea: consultant can solve the customer’s problems, and explicate the viewpoints to the implementation partner.
Our experts can help getting the implementation phase to the finish line successfully and efficiently: we help solving problems, we facilitate steering groups and we can plan the acceptance tests.
As we have ensured the steps for publishing a high-quality digital service in the first deployment, we plan the transitional steps towards a governance model for continuous development.
A well designed web concept manifests itself on each element of each web page: for this reason, it is critical that all content managers have adopted the concept idea.
If the in-house resources for coordinating, guiding and governing the work of content managers are limited, it is possible to rely on the wide experience of North Patrol consultants. On hourly rates, we offer our support to tasks such as the following :
- Designing content & content structure
- Creating meta data structure, data classifications
- Guidance and instructions for content creation & management
- Plans and instructions for user training
- Guidance and training for web content writing
- Planning marketing automation
- Support for intranet roll-out and change management
535 successful projects
We have helped hundreds of companies of versatile industries, of non-profit sector or of public sector. Including web sites, intranets, extranets and e-commerce.